Jeremy Corbyn says evidence of anti-semitism was 'ignored by Labour'

Jeremy Corbyn reportedly made the comments in a conversation that was secretly recorded Credit: AP

Jeremy Corbyn has privately expressed concern that evidence of anti-Semitism in Labour has been “mislaid or ignored”, according to reports.

The Labour leader made the comments during a secretly recorded meeting with MP Dame Margaret Hodge, the Sunday Times said.

Mr Corbyn was speaking in February as he outlined his intention to appoint former Cabinet minister Lord Falconer to review the party’s complaints process, the newspaper said.

The newspaper quoted Mr Corbyn saying: “The point of him (Falconer) is that he will look at the speed of dealing with cases, the administration of them, and the collation of the evidence before it is put before appropriate panels and things.

All complaints about anti-Semitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.

Labour spokesman

“Because I was concerned that evidence was either being mislaid, ignored or not used and that there had to be some better system.”

The Labour leader also said he had been the target of abuse, according to the newspaper.

It reported Mr Corbyn as saying: “You see, I get a huge amount of abusive stuff, mostly, some of it’s quite threatening, you know, murder and stuff.”

Lord Falconer has said Labour needs to do more to deal with accusations of anti-Semitism in its ranks.

The ex-lord chancellor told the BBC: "I think this is a very, very real threat to the party.

"How can you convince people that you are a serious,moral, decent party if you are anti-Semitic?

"How can you claim to be an alternative Government if you are anti-Semitic?

"We have to do something about it."

Lord Falconer was appointed by Mr Corbyn to review Labour’s complaints process Credit: PA

A Labour spokesman said the party takes allegations of anti-Semitism seriously.

He said: “This shows Jeremy Corbyn’s desire to make procedures as robust and efficient as possible and to rebuild trust with the Jewish community.

“We don’t comment on staffing matters. Complaints are being handled in the usual way.

“The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

“All complaints about anti-Semitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Mr Corbyn made the comments to MP Margaret Hodge. Credit: PA

Jennie Formby was made the party's general secretary a year ago, and the party believes her appointment has made the system to report anti-semitism cases more robust.

Referring to the recording, a Labour Party source said: “Before Jennie Formby became general secretary, we were alarmed that at times it seemed that former compliance unit staffers were targeting Jewish activists not in breach of rules, while obstructing action on clear-cut cases of anti-Semitism.”

Jennie Formby was made Labour's general secretary a year ago. Credit: PA

Last week,the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) backed a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, over the party's failure to address anti-semitism.

The no confidence vote was almost passed almost unanimously at JLM's annual general meeting and highlighted concerns the party had failed to take disciplinary action in hundreds of cases.

The Sunday Times said it had seen leaked internal documents which showed the party’s system for dealing with complaints had been beset by delays, inaction and interference from the leader’s office.

A group of MPs want Mr Corbyn to set up an independent body to deal with racism and bullying complaints.

According to Labour figures, the party received 673 accusations of antisemitism by Labour members between April 2018 and January 2019.